THE MEETING

From the Mr. Badger and Mrs. Fox series , Vol. 1

Wooden dialogue weighs down this woodsy graphic tale of two single-parent families getting together. Routed out of their den by hunters, Mrs. Fox and her daughter, Ginger, wangle an invitation to stay the night with Mr. Badger and his kits, Grub, Bristle and the baby. The grown-ups click immediately; the young folk—particularly hostile, unsocialized only-child Ginger—start off, at least, at war. Arranged in squared-off graphic panels, several to a page, Tharlet’s uncluttered, fluidly brushed watercolor scenes are easy to follow as the young folk squabble about games and other issues but eventually come together over plans for a big moving-in party. Unfortunately the conversation as translated by Burrell too often runs to blocky lines—“We cannot return to our burrow. It is all destroyed”—and there is little suspense about the eventual outcome, giving this purposeful but promising series an uneven start. Still, it’s hard not to warm up to characters named Bristle and Grub; here’s hoping things smooth out in future entries. (Graphic animal fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7613-5631-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2010

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An amusing, high-energy outing that teaches an important nature lesson.

OUT IN THE WILD!

A GRAPHIX CHAPTERS BOOK

From the Bug Scouts series , Vol. 1

A quartet of anthropomorphic invertebrates attempt to earn scout badges in the great outdoors.

Lowery kicks off his graphic early chapter book series with a scout’s oath: “All bugs are awesome / and that is a fact. / Raise your leg or antenna / and let’s make a pact.” Four “bug scouts” (two of whom are technically not bugs) introduce themselves; Josh the spider joins Abby the earthworm and Doug (“some kind of bug”) in welcoming Luna the firefly to their troop. The group sets out on a nature walk in order to find an edible plant, and a series of outdoorsy teaching moments culminates in a narrow escape from a (seemingly!) friendly frog: “Come back! I want to eat you! I mean…meet you!” Along with lots of silly jokes and banter and plenty of frantic action, the book delivers a cogent warning about the hazards of eating or sometimes even touching anything unidentified in nature. However, Lowery uses the words toadstool—a term typically reserved for any type of mushroom that is poisonous and thus inedible—and mushroom interchangeably, which may prejudice impressionable young readers against the edible type. Furthermore, some of the natural history presented in the text is a bit dubious. The very simply drawn cartoon art and big lettering make this book appropriate and appealing for beginner and newly independent readers.

An amusing, high-energy outing that teaches an important nature lesson. (Graphic early chapter book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-72633-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

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A welcome addition to shelves of graphic novels for new readers

PEACE AND QUIET

From the Mr. Badger and Mrs. Fox series , Vol. 4

A blended family of badgers and foxes make the best of close quarters in this wintertime story.

Mr. Badger and his three kits, Bristle, Berry and Grub, along with Mrs. Fox and her pup, Ginger, are hunkering down for a long winter together in this early-reader book that makes great use of comic conventions. Panel illustrations show the family gathering materials to make their shared den nice and cozy, while also discussing their differing wintertime behaviors: The badgers don’t hibernate, but they do sleep an awful lot to preserve their energy, and they rely on fat reserves to stay warm throughout the season, while the foxes grow thick winter coats and plan to hunt in the snowy forest. At first, the little ones have a hard time understanding these differences, and a dose of cabin fever makes the living situation rather fraught. Happily, the parents step in to ease tensions and to help their children make the most of the season and of their relationships with one another. Speech balloons, endearing illustrations of the characters, well-paced panels and lots of action from scene to scene will keep young readers invested in this story, particularly if they are already familiar with the previous titles in the series.

A welcome addition to shelves of graphic novels for new readers . (Graphic animal fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8225-9163-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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